Geothermal contributes US$2 bn worth of electricity generation in New Zealand

Te Mihi geothermal plant, New Zealand (source: Contact Energy)
Alexander Richter 27 Apr 2017

Geothermal energy plays an increasingly important role in New Zealand, contributing around 21% of renewable energy generation valued at around US$2.0 billion.

In a release today, Statistic New Zealand (Stats NZ) published data on the economic role of water resources and other renewables for electricity generation from 2007 to 2015.

Strong growth in wind and geothermal electricity generation has led to significant economic impacts, according to a Stats NZ report published today.

Geothermal’s contribution to New Zealand’s total renewable energy generation increased from 11.5 percent in 2007 to 21 percent in 2015. Over the same period, its value rose from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion (US$ 2.0 billion).

The value of wind jumped from $238 million (2 percent of total renewable energy generation) in 2007 to $884 million (6 percent) in 2015.

The value of all renewable energy resources used to generate electricity increased 22 percent from $11.3 billion in 2007 to $13.8 billion in the year ended March 2015.

“Wind power has emerged as a significant energy asset,” statistical services manager Dan Oberhaus said. “The increased use of wind and geothermal energy resources is showing positive contributions to our economy.”

This information is released in a Stats NZ report, Asset value of water resources and other renewables for electricity generation: 2007–15. The report provides supporting evidence for Our fresh water 2017, published by Stats NZ and the Ministry for the Environment today.

Water remains our most significant renewable energy resource and contributed over half the asset value for all renewables, at $9.8 billion in 2015. It accounted for 56 percent of New Zealand’s electricity generation (23,728 of 42,362 gigawatt hours).

Wood was worth $143 million, biogas $95 million, and solar $9 million in 2015. Renewable energy resources contributed 79 percent of total electricity generation in the year to March 2015.

Growth in total electricity generation increased more slowly than the population from 2007–15, suggesting fewer energy resources in the form of electricity are being demanded per person.

New Zealand’s population increased 9 percent from 4,219,400 in 2007 to 4,580,000 in 2015. Over the same period, total net electricity generation increased less than 1 percent or 270 gigawatt hours.

Stats NZ’s report used data from the national accounts and from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. These are then compiled using the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting framework to measure environmental assets consistent with the approach used for economic statistics.

Source: Stats NZ press release via Scoop

Note: Dollar amounts are in NZ dollars unless otherwise specified